female motorcyclist standing on top of mountain holding helmet

Selecting Women’s Riding Gear

Once upon a time, the motorcycle industry’s idea of women’s riding gear was merely sizing down men’s gear…and making it pink. Not cool!

Now that women make up nearly 20 percent of riders, the industry got the memo that women want a lot more from their gear, have significantly different needs than men…and they don’t all love pink!

No matter your shape and size or your style preferences, there’s quality women’s riding gear out there if you know what to look for.

Basic Gear Every Women Needs

First, a reminder of the basic gear that every woman rider needs. Your basic starter kit should include sturdy motorcycle boots, a quality helmet, motorcycle pants or jeans, gloves, and a motorcycle jacket.

Get the Right Fit

Finding women’s riding gear that fits is critical. If it doesn’t fit right and you’re not comfortable, you probably won’t wear it. Here are some essential tips for getting the right fit.

  • Test gear fit when sitting on a motorcycle. Remember, it’s supposed to be comfortable when you’re riding. Just because it feels great when you’re standing doesn’t mean it’ll be a great fit when you’re on the bike.
  • Expect gear to be snug. Remember, it’s protective safety equipment and it needs to stay in place. It will fit more snugly than your normal clothing.
  • Know your measurements. Sizing tends to vary a lot across different brands of gear, especially for women, so knowing your measurements so you can find the right size is key.

Know your body type. Knowing whether you’re petite, curvy, have a long waist, long legs, short legs, or a long torso can help you select gear that will work with your body instead of against it.

Know Your Materials

When it comes to motorcycle jackets and pants, they’re generally made out of leather or some type of textile fabric.

  • Leather – When you think about motorcycle jackets, you probably instantly think of leather. It brings old-school style together with excellent abrasion resistance. Leather might not be your best choice for hot weather riding because it doesn’t breathe like other fabrics, though many leather jackets these days have effective venting. If you’re going with leather, ensure you check the thickness of the leather (look for a minimum of 1.2mm), and insist on at least minimum armor in key spots…elbows, shoulders and along the spine. Leather offers superb abrasion protection, though like all materials, it needs help from armor for optimal impact protection.
  • Kevlar – Kevlar fabrics are known for exceptional strength and tear-resistance. When you hear the word Kevlar, you probably think of Kevlar bullet-proof vests that are worn by policemen and military for extreme protection. The benefit of Kevlar is that not only does it offer excellent strength as well as abrasion protection, it’s durable and resists high temperatures, too, something that comes in handy if your riding gear comes in contact with a hot engine or exhaust pipe.
  • Cordura – Cordura is a fabric that’s most loved for its flexibility and overall comfort. It feels breathable — great in hot weather — and provides a decent range of motion, too. It’s pretty popular for waterproof gear when used with waterproof coatings such as Gore Tex. Although Cordura is far more comfortable than Kevlar, it falls short of Kevlar when it comes to abrasion resistance.
  • Dyneema – Dyneema is a newer high-tech fabric that’s been widely adopted for motorcycle gear. It’s a military-grade fiber that’s also been used to make bullet-proof vests and has an incredible strength-to-weight ratio. The fabric is light enough to float on water, yet it’s 15 times stronger than steel. One of the biggest benefits of Dyneema is that it has the excellent tear-resistance and strength of Kevlar with the comfort and flexibility of Cordura. For that reason, it continues to become a more popular material used in motorcycle gear.

Safety & Style

When you’re choosing women’s riding gear, safety should always win out over style. Riding a motorcycle comes with some obvious risk, and what you wear while riding can mean the difference between walking away from a crash with a few bumps and bruises or life-changing injury.

Of course, while safety should be your top priority, that doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice style. With the emergence of women’s riding gear designed for and by women, you’ll find stylish choices that don’t compromise your safety.

Some of the women-owned companies that offer high-quality, stylish protective motorcycle gear for women, include:

Additional companies that offer women’s gear include: